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Lec.Mar. 4.docx

Course Code
ENGL 3550
Scott Schau

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Lecture Monday Mar. 4th 2013
Reading for “Race”
-the bell jar
-particularity read biographically for clues of her death
-very much read as a roman a clef
-“yellow as a Chinaman” (7/8)
-“dusky as a bleached blonde negress” (11/12)
-a big, smudgy-eyes Chinese woman” (17/18)
-“a sick Indian” (108/119)
-“negro” orderly (173-76/198-93)
-as esther struggles to survive in her environment, culture is radicalized
-ethnics presence that esther finds disturbing or threatening
-esther has trouble writing herself and constructing herself among all this
-cultural readings of the novel
The Bell Jar: Imagery
-throughout Esthers journey, images recur
-e.g. “the bell jar” title, 195, 227, 250-51
-connected by cyclical death-rebirth narrative structure
-e.g. baby 4, 13, 22, 65-70, 94, 103, 180, 211, 233-34
-repetitions connect “coming-of-age” and “madness” narratives
-cf. Invisible man
-Rosenberg execution (1, 2, 106)
-“I knew something was wrong with me that summer, because all I could think
about was the Rosenburgs and how stupid I’d been to buy all those
uncomfortable, expensive clothes…” (2).
-“expressions in which a single work stands in the same grammatical relation to
two or more other works, but with an obvious shift in its significance”; sometimes used
for firmly comic effects”
-M.H. Abrams, A glossary of Literary Term (1999), 272.
-sexual reactions
-“I could feel the little electric filaments clinging to my hot cheeks” (73)
-electro compulsive therapy
-darkness wiped me out like chalk on a black board” (226); “the bell jar hung
suspended, a few feet above my head” (227).
c.f. invisible man (231-45)
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